tv [untitled] August 8, 2013 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
the golden gate bridge when they have a big purchase to make and get big bags of food and we may bring some of those back into san francisco by having that kind of facility, again, you're comparing apples to oranges, they serve different kinds of foods and serve different market, there was the market study, and you can always find a study that will say anything, this particular study did not show that it was detrimental to the other stores and there was one speaker who came up and talked about the fact that he does well having a pet food express near where his thing is and the animal store connection who put a store in burlingane, if they're that big a threat, these people would have trouble surviving or not locate near them. a lot of recommendations from group that is are supportive, of course the chamber and the
spca, we heard about a lot of these, but another thing about it is that area of lombard needs a lot of work and it would be nice to see the lights on at night or during the day and it brings a presence of cars coming in and out and people using it. i'm not exactly sure what's going on, we didn't hear anything from the landlords on this and everybody's kind of talking about what the condition of the store was for the last four years since our earlier disapproval, but we don't really know what's in the lease, we don't know if sublets are allows, we don't know what was demanded. i was involved in a sale recently and the buyer of this -- what i sold him had to guarantee he had a lease to the bank before they gave him a loan and most people, they want a longer lease, and so i'm not saying that it's not impossible to get out of the lease but i would think it would have been pretty difficult to do that in
this instance. then there's the group that talks about linkage, every type of store is a different store, just because we approve pet food express does not mean it's going to be carte blanche for some other formula retail sto, we handle each one on an individual basis and whether one is right and one is wrong, that's something we'll handle when each one is before us. so, those are my main points. i also did -- the question has been brought up about the office being in oakland and there was an interesting article in the san francisco business times a few years ago when pet food express relow skated its distribution center from san leandro to oakland and bee an ka* torres mentioned it, so that may be something that we should learn from,
maybe san francisco, we tried to do that, we kept some businesses here, we attracted some new ones, if we want to attract businesses, we need to give them new incentives because we have tax that is don't exist in other places. another problem is i think a misconception, the real enemy is online purchasing, i don't think it's a big enough part of it, three or four people i think had discussed this issue, they said i haven't bought pet food for years, i go online and purchase it, nobody wins from that except ups, we're talk about obesity is a problem, it's going to get worse if people just touch their mouse and don't ever do anything, i think some of those buyers would be persuaded to purchase if they could make it a little easier for them, and finally, our staff has given a lot of
good reasons to support this project and i'm in support of it. >> commissioner hillis? >> thank you, everybody, for testifying, it's nice to see so many people who care about their neighborhood and their pets. we've had these debates before with formula retail. i think clearly pet food express is successful, it's got 47 stores, but we rarely have so many people come out supportive of the store, so i think that speaks a lot to pet food express and what they've done and they're giving back to their communities they're in and their adoption program, i know my kids go to mckinley elementary and i know pet foods express has been a sponsor, so thank you, but i think this debate is more about formula retail and pet food express is clearly a formula retailer. you know, there's a bias in the planning code, mostly put into the planning code by the voters
for diverse neighborhood commercial districts and for small independent businesses, and against frankly formula retail, and what's in the code is we have to have this hearing, we wouldn't have to have this hearing if it was an independent small business and we have this hearing and we've got this bar that says it's got to be necessary and desirable and that's not necessary and desirable to me, it's necessary and desirable to the community, the people who live and shop and work in the marina, and i think on balance, luke, to use your phrase and the staff's, although it's not unanimous, the neighbors who work and live in the marina don't believe this is unnecessary and desirable and don't want this formula retailer on lombard street, so i'm not supportive, i'm also cognizant that this was here before in 2009, there is a pet food express fairly close by and others in the city, so i can't be supportive
of this. >> commissioner sugaya? >> yes, there's issues and under consideration in the staffer, this one about the market impact analysis by the connelly group, the subject store will not cause other specialty retail store ins san francisco to lose sales revenue, however, there's a caveat in there because it says retail stores in san francisco as a group. now, i don't have the specifics of the data and i think the woman would was here is gone, but -- unless she's here. >> she's right there. >> so, how is it -- can you interpret that for me, please.
i guess i'm wondering if you use that phrase as a group, does that mean if this store comes in and a few stores happen to close because they're nearby or something, but as a group in san francisco, the pet retail stores still continue to have growth. is that what you're trying to tell me? >> what i meant by that is i don't have insiekt no would it be appropriate for me to have insiekt on the function of a specific store, so some people call it the marvelous, the darwinian rule of retail, stores fail, businesses fame, i'm a small business owner and i know that very well, but as a group, the group of small specialty head stores in the past have done well, in fact, there ended up being more
specialty pet stores than there were before the pet food express opened because the market is growing very rapidly. san franciscans preferbacker prefer to buy their food somewhere other than the grocery store or the big box store. they prefer a specialty retail store of which pet food express is one and the smaller merchants are also in that same category. >> okay, thank you. >> commissioner wu? >> also in the staff report, this is based on the commission's decision from 2009 or 10, there was a finding that i think we asked the project sponsor to -- >> no? >> asked the project sponsor to work with the city to see if there couldn't be a location somewhere in a different
neighborhood, and specifically it says to identify neighborhoods which are underserved by the pet retail business or consideration of a retail site, and it's reported here that the small business commission said that the project sponsor came and they discussed sites in the bayview, however, in the next sentence, it says pet food express reports that they're working actively with the real estate act to identify appropriate sites on mission and the excel sh*er or on the mission avenue, so i don't know what happen today the bayview investigation. also, i guess from my perspective, i was wondering why a number of years later, we have an entirely different recommendation from staff than we had in the first place.
and why we are now -- if conditions have changed, if more pet stores came in and are facing competition or something like that, but it seems like the analysis was narrowed to just take a look at the lombard street neighborhood commercial district. and yet all of the findings that we made previously are based on a larger perspective and include union and chest nut, and some of the arguments i think are even more compelling now than they were then because the competition says the three or four pet stores that were pointed out as providing the kinds of products and retail sales and things that were needed would face competition from pet food
express, now pet food express has come even closer with the retail store on california which makes me think that this store is even more undesirable. >> commissioner wu? >> so, picking up on a couple of things, this item remind me of the orchard supply ie team that we heard in soma a couple of months ago that the address falls specifically in one zone but it's right next to an n c-2 zone next to union, so for me, the question is not specifically what zone do you fall in and how do you apply the code, how can you get a sense of if you're serving the neighborhood, is it walkable, can you access these services by walking, if there's a desire to go to pet food express, can
you go there by driving or taking the bus. in applying the criteria we're supposed to look at for formula retail and looking at the general plan, i think there is a preference written in there for small business, in particular, the neighborhood commerce part of the general plan talks about fostering small business enterprise so i'm not supportive of the project. >> commissioner moore? >> would supervisor mar and other supervisors initiating investigation on how we put more focus on what formula retail means, the department will convene creating specific guidelines in the castro area, i think this is a difficult time to look at this project other than to remember what some members were sitting on this commission still today discussed four years ago. it has come into focus that a
needed pet food express was approved on thermo street and it is a car oriented enterprise and there are benefits to that, however, there was within a mile another car oriented formula retail would open along a highway makes me very weary about how we're look at this particular application. i think it is very clear that there are many things which in the last four years have made pet food an even more threatening institution to the neighborhood given the fact that unfortunately, the description of the conduct of this property and the parking lot are not particularly a good testimony to the person who's holding the lease and while i do not know the specifics, if you are into community
participation, charitable contribution, the first thing i think you would do is create an image in anticipation of something which would give you an argument in supporting that side and how you start to play an act of presence in the neighborhood which you ultimately want to conduct your business. that might be my sole and single only opinion, but i believe from some testimony, i believe we hear the interaction of taking care of each other, having said that, and based on the decision we just made four years ago, i will not be able to support this application, but i do like to let those people know who are indeed having [inaudible] and looking for other places to wash their dogs and i will read to you what it says on the plaque, one second here.
there is a dog wash station at kristi field, also the applicant said there is none, this installation was made possible through the generous initiative and donation of san francisco board [inaudible] and collaboration with the golden gate national recreation area and with the support from the kristi field dog group. they designed the thing, they donated the fun, they provided the working drawings, they installed it with the help of the park service and that thing is there for dog that is are running on kristi field and anyone who wants to wash them there. >> commissioner borden? >> i find this case very frustrating on a number of levels. both on the part of the small businesses and pet food express, i'll first address the pet food express and the
stewardship of the site and the issues around that site which is very frustrating and i think that wasn't well taken care of. i want to express somewhat frustration with the community groups because i don't see the marina merchants active on the formula retail stuff, you don't come out, nobody cared about g rof star or all of the other stores along chest nut street but all of a sudden there's some interest in pet stores and it would have been better if it was more external look, other neighborhoods did a better job, i think that's really important because the dialog is a bigger picture dialog, i would love it to create a business not to have any competition about it, it is about a bigger picture issue, to have legitimacy, you must be active on the issue whole elastically, -- whole
list i scantly, i know the site well, i used to live close to site, walked by it all the time, i used to go to the blockbuster when i was the blockbuster store, after the pfe was not approved, there was a halloween store, there was a parking lot that was operating for a while but it didn't have a permit so i guess it had to discontinue and then the site has had its various problems, i'm frustrated because lombard street does need help and i believe it needs an anchor, it needs more destination kind of experience, the pedestrian traffic, no one strolls down lombard street, when's the last time somebody strolled down lombard street, you stroll down chest nut and union street, that's part of the problem quite frankly and that site's not going to be a site where some cute little business is going to go into, ideally, i've
said this before, knock it down and build condos, it's next door to a gas station, so it's either going to be a formula retail, maybe it's a type of formula retail that nobody cares about or it's going to have to be something else because nothing else is going to work at that site, it needs to be knocked down, built something completely new or some kind of formula retail, you know, it's next to that gas station, it's got a lot of problems and that block of lombard street has a lot of drug dealing and a lot of crime, i have witnessed drug deals going on, on that street, we twice approved a massage parole which has been cited for being a sex parlor and i'm frustrate hated no one in the community knows ant that because nobody goes on lombard
street, and the one who processed edward the second or some people that are supporting lombard street now. i think what really needs to happen, people need to come together around what can make wlom bard street bet e marina merchants are great, but they focus on chest nut street, the lombard association would not have needed to be made, i recognize you have a lot of owners, or absentee or motel owners who are not active but this is about stewardship of the community and we see other communities do a good job around coming together around businesses in their corridor, for some people, people have cast off lombard until it impacts them. i want to talk about that.
i do think that i would love to see -- like i said the community come together around lombard street in general and really think about -- i know the invested neighborhoods is coming up and i know there's investments that need to come into lombard street,i think it's weird when pet food express should locate in the bayview or in another neighborhood, if pet food express has a negative impact if it's on lombard street, it will stale have the same impact in other place, you have to say you don't want pet food express at all, it can't be both ways, we have to make a decision about what is actually the place there. unfortunately, as we know, sadly, i think that i live three blocks from the current pet food express, it's nicely
maintained, i don't have any pets, i have no reason to go in there so i could see it could be a great benefit to the community, but given where we are today and what's been put before us, i can't support it. >> i'll follow up on that comment and i first want to say along with commissioner borden, it's disappointing to see one particular item be so decisive and people to take particular sides, sometimes in situations like this, it forces people in the end, whatever the outcome is to come together and do some of the things that commissioner borden is talking about, study the area, not just in one particular block but in the particular neighborhood, i've given this a lot of thought since the e-mails started coming out and i think all of us here have given in our responses now some significant heavy thought to all of your
comments, so every single comment and every e-mail has been taken. from my perspective, it is about balance, the formula retail question is about balance, and address situation by situation. lombard street had denies, it had ihop, blockbuster, radio shack, it's not foreign to the idea of formula retail, but in this particular case, there's so much outcry from neighbors who not just live there but work there who are opposed to this, it comes to my attention and it's difficult to make this a no-brainer and approve this particular cu, at this time, i think it's important that the economy's doing well in san francisco but it's important for me to sort of defend san francisco small business at the moment, i'll sort of put this
out to audience that's watching this as an opportunity, if you don't like formula retail, step up and open some businesses, fill these stops before somebody else does, be competitive, mr. levy is an excellent businessman, he competed to be where he is now and i applaud him for that, and all of us have the opportunity to do the same thing, i encourage people to step up and follow his business model, so much so that he's almost unwelcomed in san francisco, i don't know if you spin that off into a compliment but there is a compliment there, case by case, address by address, with the outcry, it's difficult for me to support this project with its past history in 2009. commissioner antonini. >> a couple of questions but first to comment what is amazing to me is we have a turn-out here, we have a lot of people who spoke in favor of the local pet stores and how much they loved them and how they served their needs, and nobody's saying they don't and
nobody's saying you have to shop at pet food express. the way i was always taught, if you don't like something, don't shop there and businesses are determined by the marketplace, they don't get the support, they won't be there, and it doesn't sound like any of the opponents will go running to pet food express, so it's people who don't shop now at the small stores, at least that's what i'm hearing, i have a question for the project sponsor or someone representing him, first it has to do with the lease. i understand there's a lease in place that lasts until 1919, i believe it's a 10 year lease and nobody's ever mentioned much about the landlords, i heard it's some family that doesn't live in the city, is there some flexibility to get out of this lease or was it takes out with a ten year term and that's what you got. >> again, for the record, my
name is jim moore, i'm the project sponsor, we did have a ten year lease, before we got through the first conditional use process, our out clause had expired so we're stuck with buying our way out of the lease, we don't have any intention of subletting, finding a tenant with the landlord might help us get out of the lease but it's an expensive process, we think we deserve to be on lombard and we think they could use us as an anchor tenant so we took an attempt to get the approval to be there. >> that explains a little bit of it. from what i understand you're saying, with an enterprise like yours, there's so much leasehold improvements, you probably didn't want anything less than a ten year lease because it wouldn't make sense to put that kind of money into it and then have to leave within five years. >> well, we have options beyond
the ten years so i have the 20 or the 30 all together, the first ten, we're obligated for the first ten. >> and the question of maintenance. i heard there was a parking lot there and the parking lot park was responsible for keeping the building clean, the exterior of the building and the parking lot itself and unfortunately, sometime in the the last year or two, the owner of the parking lot had to leave the business and wasn't able to keep it up and i'm not sure, is that a sublet or was that from the landlord and the parking business? >> well, all along, our intention there was to keep the parking lot active and serving the neighborhoods, so for a while, there was a parking lot company that operates parking lots that was operating it. when they changed -- i think they incorporated or something
like that, they lost their conditional use permit to do it, they applied for a new one and this is wrapped up in this process unfortunately, so rather than scathing off the entire property we have continued to lease it to -- not lease it but let marina -- a few other retailers on chest nut use the parking lot, and as far as graffiti goes, we were only notified twice from dpw that there was graffiti, if first time was two and a half years ago and that was abated almost immediately, the first time, it was 23 and a half, the second type was two and a half, there hasn't been since, we have a relationship with two homeless people who do live there and martin and ray, martin has a cell phone and whenever somebody tag it is build, they call our maintenance guy rob who goes
and mains over the graffiti, he hasn't been painting with thick enough paint, and people think it's been tagged. >> so, is your lease, you're responsible for the maintenance of the building and the parking lot or the land lard is? >> it's our responsibility. >> it's your responsibility. >> yes, it is. >> we installed two cameras, officer poliano and ramirez. >> it's doubtful the land lard is going to let you out of the lease for the next two years? >> it will be an interesting negotiation. >> okay, thank you. >> commissioner sugaya. >> i just wanted to point out something else, that this is pertaining to lombard street, and i think it goes along with
commissioner borden's comments, the last time this was before us, one of the findings i think was not i think, it's written here, pointed out that one of the reasons, not the only reason, but one of the reasons was that the commission saw lombard street as transitioning from an auto oriented, although it can't be completely that obvious since it's a major highway, but something that would become eventually more pedestrian friendly and more friendly to small businesses and going in that direction. i won't read the whole thing here, but i think it's also something that based on commissioner borden's comments, that the community ought to rally around, especially the lombard merchant's association supported by the other two groups on either side, north,
south, on chest nut and union and really try to persuade mr. ram here and the staff to provide some support toward that goal and to talk to the officer of economic and workforce development, the mayor's office who is undertaking a neighborhood initiative which provides assistance for economic development in commercial -- neighborhood commercial areas. so, just that comment. i guess as long as i have the mic., i'll make a motion to deny the conditional use permit and as an aide to staff, if they could go back and review the findings from the previous decision and incorporate the fact that the project sponsor